What is a lay minister?

Lay ministers provide one-on-one, confidential pastoral care, under the supervision of the minister, which serves to extend the capacity of the minister to meet the needs of congregants as they arise. 

What kinds of needs do lay ministers commonly address?

Many of the needs have to do with major life transitions like death of a loved one, divorce, and job loss. Some involve challenges in families and other significant relationships like caring for elderly parents or children with special needs. Some other common stressors are financial strain and adjustment to new realities like chronic illness.  Some involve providing comfort and care to people who are dying.

How does one get connected with a lay minister?

Rev. Claire is responsible for lay minister assignments.   The process can be initiated by contacting Rev. Claire herself or by reaching out directly to a lay minister.

How does lay ministry differ from other kinds of support?

Lay ministers support people as they reflect on their values and spiritual commitments and beliefs. They provide opportunities for people to address difficulties in the presence of someone who cares and who is not directly involved in the situation. Lay ministers aim to listen empathically and provide a caring atmosphere for reflection. 

Lay ministers sometimes suggest, but don’t directly provide, practical support, like rides to appointments and meals. Those needs are addressed through the Volunteer Services Network.

While some of the work of lay ministry involves a long-term commitment, like meeting every other week for 3 or 4 months, more commonly, it involves a few meetings at a time of difficulty and a check in or two at a later time.

Are there any limits to confidentiality?  


1) Lay ministers often support each other in their discussions at monthly meetings. The person seeking lay minister contact can indicate if they have any concern about this. The lay ministry team sees confidentiality within their group to be a sacred commitment.

2) In situations where there are significant concerns about harm to self or others, lay ministers will consult with the minister who will determine next steps. 

Do lay ministers have other duties?

Lay ministers take turns providing pastoral prayers and leading the “Joys and Sorrows” segment of the Sunday worship service and follow up as appropriate. Informally, they aim to notice and respond to needs for connection or condolence.

How are lay ministers selected and trained?

They are selected by the minister. Anyone who is interested in becoming a lay minister should contact the Rev. Claire. The minister may ask candidates to come in for an interview. Before taking any assignments, lay ministers attend a basic training.  During the year, additional training and guidance is offered.